Students protest for planet
Students are set to skip school once again to strike for climate change action tomorrow.
Students and other supporters will gather at Heipipi Endeavour Park near the courthouse from 1pm until 2pm.
They will be joining students around the country who are striking for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic reached New Zealand.
“Because of the lockdowns, Covid and precautions, we didn’t have a chance to run things as we would normally,” said Gisborne co-convener Henarata Kohere Pishief.
Henarata, who is in Year 11 at Gisborne Girls’ High School, said the strikes were necessary to demand climate action.
The School Strike 4 Climate must be intergenerational, says the movement’s Facebook page.
“Parents, teachers, aunties, uncles and grandparents are asked to join youth on April the 9th to stand up for climate justice.”
Henarata is hoping for a good turnout tomorrow, but says a lot depends on schools.
“It’s really dependent on if the schools let their students go and how willing students are to risk being marked truant or absent.”
Henarata says some teachers are supportive while others are sceptical about students taking time off.
The Girls’ High members have filed the paperwork for the time off to attend the strike and the girls are confident senior students will be allowed to attend.
This will be the fourth intergenerational climate strike since School Strike 4 Climate started in March 2019, when 80,000 Kiwis protested.
Then in September the same year, 170,000 marched throughout New Zealand demanding action from politicians and the public.
Around the world, on every continent, more than 14 million people have been involved in climate change protests.
The Gisborne strike action has been spearheaded by the student leaders, organising themselves, filling out paperwork, and speaking with the media, says Henarata.
So far all the members are from Girls’ High, Campion College and Boys’ High, but they want to involve students from Lytton High and kura kaupapa.
“Normally we meet every Tuesday, which could be just five minutes to an hour. It depends what we have to get done for that week.
“This year we’re looking to expand the group itself. We’re very focused on Gisborne/Turanga, so we’re looking to see how we can get in touch with students from schools up the Coast.”